09 July 2013

Knocklofty a haven for rare plants

Prasophyllum perangustum

We count ourselves lucky in West Hobart to enjoy easy access to Knocklofty Reserve, where we can quickly escape the city and disappear into the bush along a number of well maintained tracks.  Did you know that the healthy, thriving native bushland you see in Knocklofty Reserve today is not an accident?  It has resulted from many years of tireless dedication from a small group of Bushcare volunteers: The Friends of Knocklofty Bushcare Group [FoKL].  

Botanical surveys commissioned by the Hobart City Council and Friends of Knocklofty have now identified that Knocklofty Reserve contains over 300 species of native plants growing in ten dry and wet sclerophyll forest communities. Nine rare and threatened plant species have been identified, including the Knocklofty Leek Orchid [Prasophyllum perangustum], which is unique to the reserve.

Much dedicated work by members of the group has resulted in descriptions and photos of the Flora of Knocklofty.  For example:

Prasophyllum perangustum, common name "Knocklofty leek orchid", is a very rare species, seldom found and last seen on Knocklofty summit in 2002.  The 7 to 15, narrow green to light reddish green flowers with a white to pink labellum appear in late spring to early summer above the 18 to 25cm dark green leaf.  This species is believed to only appear after a fire, yet a light burn since 2002 produced no flowers.

You can check out the individual flowers or get a complete list of the flora on Knocklofty Reserve here.

Hobart City Council and Friends of Knocklofty are working together to protect the reserve.  Plantings of over 30,000 plants have been designed to restore native plants to areas disturbed by quarrying, grazing and woody weed growth, and to provide habitat for the various fauna species living in the reserve. Friends of Knocklofty are always keen to have more helpers - find them on the web here.

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